After some googling, there does seem to be a lot of controversy around the spelling accepted and not accepted on Jeopardy. I rarely watch the show and had no idea...
Spelling, and even worse? Pronunciation.
Just the fact that someone can say a completely wrong answer, then correct themselves is a problem to me.
I also won't say that Alex coaches some of the contestants, but it's very possible. I think that he reminds the contestants too much about the specific categories after they've given wrong answers, such as "Remember, every question must begin with the letter D" or whatever.
I know the show isn't rigged, but it is very inconsistent.
And of course, on topic: I am a big fan of partial credit for non-standardized testing. For normal everyday testing, I think partial credit can always be helpful for a student's confidence.
I agree with most people here. If they were mostly correct but missed a key bit (Indian Sea instead of Ocean) give them partial credit. If they got it right but spelled it phonetically then give them full credit, especially with something tricky to spell like Afghanistan. Most of my high schoolers couldn't spell that correctly.
I've thought about partial credit a lot...still thinking!
I try to think that an "A," whatever the teacher means by an "A," means exceptional, you got it all exactly right and did it very well: a "B" means very good, you got it right but missed an inconsequential part somewhere; a "C" means average, you got the big picture and you got the right answer but missed parts of it; "D" means you missed it but have some concept, and "F" means you left it blank or missed it all, obviously have no clue.
With that in mind, I'd give at least a "C" to any kid who got the answer right but spelled it wrong, unless I had made spelling and correct terminology ("Ocean" vs "Sea") a major part of the right answer. If the goal was to know geography, then if he/she knew it was the "Indian" something but missed "Ocean" and called it the Indian "Sea" to me that's a "C" grade. If he'd gotten "Indean Ocean" (right term, spelled slightly wrong) it would have been a "B." But if I'd really stressed that spelling and correct terminology was a major part of the correct answer, then it would be a "D" grade for Indian "Sea." An "F" grade would have been "Pacific Ocean" no matter if it was spelled correctly or not
I think it depends on what your criteria are. If you didn't stress spelling as one of the criteria that you are grading on, then you probably shouldn't grade on it. However if you tell students ahead of time, and they are clear on your expectations, by all means mark them down.
As for the philosophy of grading students down based on spelling mistakes, I don't see why not, if your criteria was clear. There are pros and cons and it depends on what you value: clear communication or demonstration of understanding. Both of these are valid goals.